Tulane Green Wave

Riding the wave of AAC expansion is the Tulane Green Wave, who now find themselves near the top of the conference. 





As is tradition, CBB Review is again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the new college basketball season. Each day, we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Follow along with #CBBRank on all our social media channels.

The Tulane Green Wave finished 3rd in the AAC last season, behind only Houston and Memphis. Wins over Memphis, Wichita State (twice), and Buffalo were the highlight of the season, which ended in the AAC semifinals with a 20-11 (12-6) record.

Gone from the AAC, however, are Houston, Cincinnati, and UCF, replaced with FAU, UAB, Rice, North Texas, UTSA, and Charlotte. While at first glance the subtraction of the three aforementioned programs seems like a tough blow to the conference, FAU, UAB, and North Texas all have had success in the past year, with FAU making a run to the Final Four and North Texas besting UAB in the NIT final. The AAC looks different, and with help from Tulane, retains its basketball prestige.

With the exception of Jalen Cook, almost every impact player returns, along with a handful of transfers from the portal. It’s not a stretch to say this team is better than last year’s, especially with 89.5% of last year’s scoring on the 2023-2024 roster. 

Click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season.

Head coach: Ron Hunter (30th season, 5th season at Tulane)

2022-23 record: 20-11 (12-6)

2022 postseason finish: None

Notable departures: Jalen Cook

Notable non-conference games: Not yet released

Projected Rotation

PG: Sion James (6-5, 185, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 9.7 PPG, 3.4 APG, 4.8 RPG, 2.0 SPG

SG: Jaylen Forbes (6-5, 185, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 18.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.7 APG, 86.1 FT%

SF: Collin Holloway (6-6, 220, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 6.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.5 APG, 36.4 3PT%

PF: Greg Glenn III (6-7, 230, S0.)

2022-23 stats: 1.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, 4 games played (Transfer from Michigan)

C: Kevin Cross (6-8, 240, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 14.8 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, 25.8% assist percentage

6: Kolby King (6-2, 170, So.)

2022-23 stats: 1.7 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.6 APG (Transfer from St. John’s)

7: Asher Woods (6-3, 180, So.)

2022-23 stats: 14.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.3 APG (Transfer from VMI)

8: Tre’ Williams (6-5, 195, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 1.9 PPG, 0.9 APG, 0.8 RPG

9: Spencer Elliott (6-9, 205, Fr.)

2022 247Sports Composite 3-star recruit

10: Jordan Wood (6-9, 200, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 8.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 0.7 APG (Transfer from Howard)

11: Percy Daniels (6-9, 235, So.)

2022-23 stats: 2.3 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 80.0 FG%, 4 games played 

12: Logan Stephens (6-2, 197, Jr.)

2022-23 stats: 2.0 PPG, 0.3 APG, 3 games played (Transfer from Rutgers)

13: Mier Panoam (6-2, 185, Fr.)

2022 247Sports Composite 3-star recruit

Tulane Green Wave MVP: Jaylen Forbes

With the absence of Jalen Cook, this award goes to Jaylen Forbes. However, even if Cook were to have stayed with Tulane, there could be a valid argument for giving the presumptive preseason MVP award to Forbes still. A talented, lengthy scorer, Forbes should combine with Sion James as one of the best AAC backcourt duos this season. 

Forbes is a high-percentage, high-volume shooter, hitting 38.8% of his threes last year, good for 2nd in the AAC. His career mark of 38.2% actually ranks 6th in AAC history. That’s not even his best stat category, as the iron man Forbes is 1st all-time in minutes per game in AAC history with 36.3. I love an efficient guard, and Forbes’s effective FG% of 53.3% last season makes me appreciate him even more. 

Did I mention his 86.1% free throw percentage last year? That’s for a team that ranked 34th nationally in free throws attempted per game. If you really want to get analytical, Forbes ranked 5th in the AAC in points produced per game with 16.5, along with a top-20 rank in the conference in both offensive win shares and defensive win shares. 

Forbes is the man in New Orleans this season, and he’s surrounded by serious talent, too. At 6’5”, he’s a great perimeter defender, yet another notch in his tool belt. As long as Forbes is on the court, the Green Wave backcourt will remain unworried. 

Tulane Green Wave make-or-break player: Asher Woods

If you’re not an avid SoCon watcher or didn’t tune in to any VMI games last season, you may not know Asher Woods. Who knows Asher Woods? The Japanese World University Games team. Woods just dropped 17 points on an entire nation at the World University Games in China, in which Tulane is representing the United States this offseason. But after scoring 14.2 PPG in 35.2 MPG (3rd in the SoCon as a freshman, by the way), Woods transferred this portal season to the brighter pastures of New Orleans. 

A very solid scorer, Woods started every game for the Keydets on 38.7 FG%/31.6 3PT%/78.0 FT% splits. Standing at 6’3”, 180. Woods is average size for a guard, but that didn’t stop him from collecting the 20th-most defensive rebounds in the SoCon last year. 

Likely behind James and Forbes in the lineup, Woods will come off the bench as an immediate scoring threat. This is your chance, reader, to purchase your Tulane bandwagon tickets before that guard trio, along with Kolby King, makes (green) waves in the AAC this season. 

Key analytic: Steals per game and assists per game

Much like the Tulane football team, the Tulane basketball team was adept at taking away possessions from opposing squads. Their 8.5 steals per game ranked 20th in the country last year, and their top two robbers of the rock return, with Sion James and Jaylen Forbes combining for 3.9 steals per game last season. The Green Wave perimeter defense should be even better this year. 

Of course, steals mean nothing if you turn the ball over on the other end. Luckily for Tulane, they didn’t have that problem often, ranking 23rd nationally in assists per game with 15.6. Unfortunately, leading assist man Jalen Cook is gone, retreating back to the Bayou where he began his career at LSU under Will Wade. However, big man Kevin Cross is manning the frontcourt again, and that’s the good news for Tulane.

While obviously not in the same role as Cook, Cross still is a passing threat, racking up 4.2 assists per game. I’m resisting the urge to comp every big man as Nikola Jokic, but it’s so tempting. Cross and the 3rd leading assist man, Sion James, return. James, with his 3.4 assists per contest, would be more of a Jalen Cook role, and coach Ron Hunter is aware of that. For as big of a talent Cook was for this team, James is a more-than-ready replacement. When there’s one too many Cooks in the kitchen, James can step in to throw some dishes about. 

With the amount of returning talent, there shouldn’t be any dropoff between last year’s Green Wave versus this year’s. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Tulane improves upon their  20th and 23rd-ranked standings in these stat categories. 

Tulane Green Wave 2023-24 projections

Projected conference finish: 3rd in AAC

Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament – Round of 32

One thought on “CBB Rank 2023: No. 97, Tulane Green Wave”
  1. Why do you have Tylan Pope listed in the rotation when he transferred and leave out Spencer Elliott, another 3-star PF freshman?

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